Yerevan, 22.September.2017,
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The Grand Tour: Jeremy Clarkson's first show since Top Gear praised

The first episode of The Grand Tour, Jeremy Clarkson's first TV series since exiting Top Gear, has been given rave reviews by critics.

The show launched on the Amazon Prime streaming service on Thursday evening.

It is the first programme to be fronted by Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May since they parted company with the BBC last year.

Writing in The Evening Standard, Ben Travis described it as a "stunningly beautiful show".

"If The Grand Tour is basically Top Gear with a nitros boost of Amazon finances, the difference is immediately apparent," he said.

"Those who have never counted themselves as Jeremy Clarkson fans aren't exactly going to be won over here - but episode one is a confident opener that leaves the BBC's attempted Top Gear revival in the dust."

Analysis by Will Gompertz, BBC arts editor

Filmic is the word that sprang to my mind when watching the Grand Tour.

The scale of the production, the quality of the cameras, the epic sweeping shots and the pastiches of old movies - it seemed the show was aimed at the big screen, not the telly. Or a mobile phone, which is how I imagine a lot of people will view it.

It opens with a scene so over-the-top and opulent you'd think that the Prince Regent was behind the camera. Think Mad Max meets Easy Rider as we see the three presenters drive across the Californian desert, making their way through a sea of cars all barrelling along to a massive stage that has risen from the sand like a pyramid.

Maybe the small screen is too small for Clarkson, Hammond and May, and their next step should be away from the internet and into the cinema.

Writing in The Guardian, Sam Wollaston said: "More than format, more even than the amount of money you throw at something, what really gives a television show its personality is the personnel.

"You can pour something into a different container, but it still tastes the same. And, like it or not, this tastes of Clarkson, Hammond and May."

He added: "Fans of old Top Gear are going to be happy."

The first episode of the series saw the trio take their travelling studio tent to Dry Rabbit Lake in the Mojave Desert in California.

Vehicles featured in the episode included hybrid hyper-cars such as the McLaren P1, the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Ferrari LaFerrari.

The Telegraph's Ed Power said: "The Grand Tour isn't a shameless Top Gear rip-off. But under the hood the rival franchises have a great deal in common."

He added: "The new series will certainly go some way towards obliterating memories of Top Gear's terrible Chris Evans-fronted relaunch. Petrolheads can rejoice.

"The BBC may wonder how Matt LeBlanc and whoever joins him next year can possibly compete."

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